This Is Why You Might Hallucinate When You Have A Fever

Nobody finds having a fever to be a pleasant experience. You have likely been taught that when you have a fever, you might experience chills and sweating. While this is true, it is a shame that hardly anybody warns about psychological side effects. For some people, high fevers of 103 or above are accompanied by disorientation, strange dreams, and even hallucinations (per UnityPoint Health). The hallucinations typically involve seeing or hearing things that are not there, but sometimes they may involve the senses of smell, taste, and touch (per Healthline). For example, some people may feel as though bugs are crawling all over them, according to Parents.

According to U.S. News, high fevers may cause hallucinations because they raise the body's temperature, which can impair normal brain functioning. These fevers are often caused by flu, COVID-19, or other infections, and people with diseases like Alzheimer's may be more prone to experiencing fever hallucinations (per Healthline). Fortunately, fever-related hallucinations typically go away within a few minutes. 

This is when to see a doctor

While they can definitely be frightening, fever-related hallucinations themselves don't necessarily warrant a visit to the doctor (per Healthline). However, they often accompany symptoms that do warrant a doctor's visit, such as a fever of above 100 degrees Fahrenheit for babies, 102 degrees Fahrenheit for children, and 103 degrees Fahrenheit for adults. It is important to see a doctor if your fever persists for more than two days or if it is accompanied by confusion, a severe headache, neck pain, chest pain, a rash, painful urination, trouble breathing, or severe stomach pain or vomiting (per Mayo Clinic). You should also see your doctor if you have been exposed to extreme heat or if you have a cough with green, brown, or bloody mucus, according to Healthline.

If hallucinations are your only alarming symptom, Healthline suggests taking medicine to relieve your fever. Drinking lots of fluids and taking lukewarm baths could also be helpful to bring down your body temperature. If the hallucination or delirium persists longer than a few minutes, you should seek medical attention.